Even though I did not travel to the Netherlands this year, we still had a summer break at Breadfruit House. Let me take you along everything that happened this summer. With schools closed, we did not host any groups, which created time for other necessary activities.
Especially the younger children enjoy the cuddly toys we have in the reading nook. When the group is hectic and noisy, some children need to step away from the busyness. The reading nook is perfect for that. Sitting quietly with a toy under your arm and a book of your choice can be just what you need.
Summer break at Breadfruit House is the perfect time to ensure all the toys are squeaky clean again before we start with new groups of children. So, they all underwent some extensive cleaning in the washing machine. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what would happen; fortunately, they all came out surprisingly well, looking bright and smelling fresh.
An inviting space.
We want the Breadfruit House to be an inviting and fun space for children. That’s why we added some more decorations and other fantastic attributes to the room this summer.
The children already love everything; sometimes, they want to plan slumber parties or visit me. It makes me very happy because that is precisely our goal: for the Breadfruit House to be a place to feel safe, have fun, and create great memories.
Most of the walls were already decorated last year when our treasurer, Pamela, visited us. One wall, however, was left empty until now, that is. Someone in the UK made a custom portrait of me reading to the children in the reading nook. I had it printed and laminated, and we finally put it on the wall last week. Isn’t it the cutest? I cannot stop smiling. Thank you, Carla, from Poppekins UK, for this wonderful illustration.
There is more!
Earlier this year, I wrote a blog about how one small donation prompted me to new ideas for the program. Click here to read that Blog.
Children need to learn to speak freely in front of a group. The courage hat prompted the idea of a stage, and like magic, a lovely lady from the Netherlands, who read the blog, donated money to build the stage. We appreciate your generous donation, Mrs. Nancy de Vries.
Together with the stage, we also had a puppet theater made by the carpenter, who also made the benches and the table with cubby holes for all the artwork and materials. We found quite a few hand puppets in the donations we received in May. Joanne Owen, the famous UK children’s book author, donated even more hand puppets handmade by her mom when she visited us this summer. How blessed are we with all of these gifts?
And let’s not forget Oliver.
I published my first children’s book in of March of this year. It was an incredibly proud moment when I held the book for the first. The title is “Oliver and his big bowl of feelings.” Oliver, who is 8, lives on a Caribbean island and sees his life turned upside down due to the pandemic.
He experiences many different emotions and finds it hard to speak about them. It benefits him greatly when he finally finds the courage to talk to his parents. At school, there is Ms. Marieke’s special art class, which all the children love, and Oliver learns that being creative is also a way to process your emotions and feelings.
The story’s message is that however you feel is okay, there is no shame in feeling a certain way. There are several ways to process your feelings, such as talking to a trusted adult or expressing yourself through creativity. Unfortunately, it is not easy for young children in Dominica to find a trusted adult, as psychosocial support is not readily available. Our program offers some distraction, if nothing else. A decent meal, fun activities, and touching on important subjects like self-love, gratitude, and diversity, just to name a few.
Summer break at Breadfruit House.
That is our summer update. It is time to return to work and introduce more children to the Breadfruit House program. Our Dominican and Dutch board members are making plans and generating ideas to move forward to reach as many children as we can.
Everything we do, is because of your support as donors. A fun way to continue helping us is to buy your personal copy of my book by following this link to Amazon.
Of course, a regular donation is always welcomed as well. This link will guide you to our donation page..